Washington, Williams on fence about pros
By Gary Parrish, Memphis Commercial Appeal
April 20, 2006
With nine days remaining until the deadline and underclassmen declaring at a staggering rate, Darius Washington and Shawne Williams remain publicly undecided about whether to return to the University of Memphis or enter the NBA Draft. "We haven't decided anything," said Washington's father, Darius Washington Sr.
"Shawne doesn't know yet," said Williams' grandfather, Leon Williams. So the wait continues.
Previously, John Calipari said he expected both Washington and Williams to turn pro, even putting the odds at 60-40. And while that is still a strong possibility, the families of both Tiger stars remain non-committal on the issue, apparently set to have every bit of desired information before scheduling an announcement.
The deadline is April 29, though that doesn't necessarily mean anything will be decided by then. Williams and Washington could announce that they are going to enter the NBA Draft and still return to college so long as they maintain their amateur status (i.e., don't hire an agent) and withdraw by June 18.
For what it's worth, Washington is not projected to go in the first round, and it's unclear if he'd be selected at all. Still, there's little doubt the sophomore guard could earn a paycheck playing basketball somewhere next season if that is the goal.
"Right now we're just focused on finishing (this semester of classes) strong," said Darius Washington Sr. "That's the only thing we're worried about."
Williams' pro prospects appear much brighter. The freshman forward would likely be a first-round pick, but whether it's near the top or the bottom of the round is hard to predict, which is apparently why the decision is hard to make.
"If he was in the top 10, I'd imagine he'd go, but other than that I don't know," Leon Williams said. "So he's just waiting, trying to see how high he could go."
-- Gary Parrish: 901-529-2365